880 words (7 minutes reading time) by Lancing Farrell
Australian local governments make decisions on a range of issues that impact their communities, such as planning, zoning, environmental management, infrastructure, waste management, community services, traffic management, and economic development. The decisions they make are influenced by legislative requirements, public input, and deliberation among elected officials. The specific responsibilities and decision-making processes of local governments can vary depending on the state or territory in which they are located. The decision-making process typically includes planning and preparation, public consultation, council meetings, decision-making, implementation, and review and evaluation.
In Colin Weatherby’s post on BI, he looked at how it is used by companies and how it might be used by councils. With some assistance from ChatGPT (I am becoming quite a fan), I have tried to drill down to the actual decisions councils make where BI would be useful.
ChatGPT – What type of decisions must they make in these areas?
These are just a few examples of the types of decisions made by Australian local governments. The specific responsibilities of a local government can vary depending on the laws and regulations of the state or territory in which it is located.
- Planning and zoning: Regulating land use, development, and building within their jurisdiction, including the approval of new buildings, subdivisions, and other development projects. This includes deciding on changes required to the Planning Scheme; the type and intensity of development to be approved in different areas; enforcing building codes and standards; and deciding on the location of public facilities and infrastructure.
- Environmental management: Managing local parks, gardens, and other public spaces, and protecting the environment, including waste disposal and management of local water resources. This includes deciding on the management and preservation of local parks, gardens, and other public spaces, including setting policies for their use and protection; deciding on the regulation of waste disposal, including the location of waste facilities and the methods used for disposal; and managing local water resources, including setting policies for water conservation and protection.
- Infrastructure: Maintaining and upgrading local roads, bridges, footpaths, and other public works, as well as providing services such as drainage. This includes deciding on the maintenance and upgrading of local roads, bridges, footpaths, and other public works, including setting budgets for these projects and determining priority areas for investment.
- Community services: Providing services such as libraries, community centres, and recreational facilities, as well as supporting community events and festivals. This includes deciding community events and festivals; and deciding on the allocation of resources for community programs, such as kindergarten, maternal child health, youth programs and services for the elderly.
- Waste management: Managing the collection, transportation, and disposal of household and commercial waste. This includes deciding on services type and frequency; setting policies for waste reduction and recycling, determining the location of waste facilities, and setting fees for waste disposal.
- Traffic management: Regulating traffic flow, determining speed limits, and setting and enforcing parking controls. This includes deciding on traffic and parking controls; determining the location of pedestrian crossings and traffic lights; and deciding on the enforcement of traffic laws and regulations.
- Economic development: Supporting local businesses and promoting economic growth, including providing planning and development advice, and promoting tourism. This includes deciding on policies and initiatives, and the allocation of resources for economic development initiatives.
This is starting to look like a useful list to guide a Council BI system. Councils regularly make decisions in all of these eight areas. Many of these decisions are episodic and the data needed to make a decision is gathered at the time a decision is required. Often that data is not maintained and continuously available. Sometimes decisions are made relying solely on the experience of decision makers. with no or limited data.
My next question went to the heart of how decisions are made. This can influence the information needed to make the decision.
ChatGPT – How do councils make these decisions?
Australian councils make decisions through a combination of legislative requirements, public input, and deliberation among elected officials. The specific process for decision-making by councils may vary depending on the laws and regulations of the state or territory in which the council is located, but typically includes the following steps:
- Planning and preparation: Councils gather information and conduct research on the issue at hand, including reviewing relevant legislation, regulations, and policies, and seeking input from stakeholders and the community.
- Public consultation: Councils engage in public consultation and engagement, including holding public meetings and hearings, to gather feedback and input from the community.
- Council meetings: Council meetings are held to discuss and deliberate on the issue at hand, including presentations by council staff and other experts, and public comment.
- Decision-making: Councils make decisions through a vote of elected officials (or through delegation to council officers), who consider the information gathered, public input, and the best interests of the community.
- Implementation: Councils take the necessary steps to implement their decisions, including issuing permits, allocating funds, and implementing policies and regulations.
- Review and evaluation: Councils regularly review and evaluate the effectiveness of their decisions, including monitoring progress and gathering feedback from the community.
This is a general overview of the decision-making processes for councils in Australia.
When you think about it, Council BI is essentially a data and analytics system to support decision making processes.